Results tagged ‘ Kevin Youkilis ’

Another day, another injury

Continuing the theme of the week, J.D. Drew is out of today’s game with a sore legs, which include a barking quad. In actuality, he might not have played today anyway, as Kazmir is pitching for the Rays. But given Drew’s game-winning homer last night, it might have been nice to see if he could take that momentum into today.

Kevin Youkilis is also out of the mix for the fifth straight game, and likely won’t play again until the start of the West Coast trip on Tuesday. “We’ll try to use the day off to our advantage,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona.

And in a display of the selflessness that has come to mark this team, Youkilis said this morning that he’d have no problem with Jason Bay continuing to stay in the cleanup spot, even when Kevin is back in the lineup.

“He can hit there,” Youkilis said. “If he’s going to hit the way he is, he can stay there. I’ll hit anywhere in the lineup except for leadoff. I don’t mind. I’ll hit sixth, I don’t mind. I’ve hit there before.”

Drew leading off; Youk, Ellsbury not playing

Definitely a different Red Sox lineup tonight as they open a five-game homestand at Fenway. J.D. Drew is leading off, Jason Varitek hitting sixth, Jeff Bailey batting seventh, Jonathan Van Every eighth and Nick Green ninth.

Jacoby Ellsbury, who injured his right hamstring last night, should return to the mix tomorrow night. Manager Terry Francona seemed a little more iffy on when Kevin Youkilis might be back.

Rocco Baldelli is here at Fenway, but won’t be activated tonight. He was scheduled to have today off. There will be a decision on Rocco tomorrow.

Jed Lowrie was back with the team today for the first time since his surgery. His rehab is right on schedule. He should start swinging a bat in early June.

The team is in the process of deciding where Dice-K’s next rehab start will be. The choice is either for Pawtucket at Columbus, or home for Portland. If I was in Matsuzaka’s shoes, I’d beg for Portland so I could have the best lobster imaginable.

John Smoltz re-started his throwing program on the Fenway lawn, playing catch at a distance of 60 feet.

All for now.

Saturday in the Citi

OK, that’s my last corny pun about Citi Field for a long time, since, who knows when I will be here again? Perhaps in October for a Red Sox-Mets World Series? Otherwise, it could be a while.

Daisuke Matsuzaka gets the nod in Boston’s final game of Spring Training.

Kevin Youkilis is over the flu bug — intestinal turmoil as his manager referred to it as — that took him out of the lineup on Friday night. Youk is back in there today. Rocco Baldelli will lead off and play center against the left-handed starter. Ellsbury will come in off the bench at some point.

Brad Wilkerson has apparently decided he will accept an assignment to Triple-A Pawtucket. This, after a horrific spring in which Wikerson hit .119 and struck out 18 times in 42 at-bats.

Knuckleballer Tim Wakefield pitched in a camp game back in Fort Myers today, throwing six innings, allowing seven hits, two earned runs, two walks, three strikeouts over 83 pitches. 

The Sox will work out at Fenway on Sunday and then open their season. It will be the first Home Opener at Fenway for many players on the roster. Here is the list of those players who have never had an Opening Day with the Red Sox:

Justin Masterson; Brad Penny, Ramon Ramirez, Takashi Saito, John Smoltz, George Kotarras, Jed Lowrie, Rocco Baldelli, Chris Carter and Mark Kotsay

Pedroia to return Friday

Just as the Red Sox were updating the situation on Kevin Youkilis, which doesn’t seem to be anything to fret about, it was revealed that Dustin Pedroia will be back in the lineup for Friday’s game against the Pirates. Pedroia will get two at-bats Friday, take BP on Saturday and then get about three at-bats on Sunday.

As for Youkilis, he will wear a boot on his foot for two to three days, then hopefully progress to batting practice, and perhaps game action at some point next week.

Bench coach Brad Mills will manage the Sox on Friday. Terry Francona will be attending the graduation of son Nick from Officer Candidate School.

Jetting back to the Fort

Yes, the return of Brownie Points is coming. When last I was in Fort Myers five days ago, it was a slow camp. It was by the far the slowest Spring Training in my eight years on the Red Sox beat. And then I left and all you know what broke loose.

Lugo, surgery. Pedroia, injured, and out of the World Baseball Classic. Jon Lester, signed for five years. Jason Bay, no contract extension this spring. Josh Bard, out of a job. Kevin Youkilis, now out of the World Baseball Classic.

Wow. Quite literally, there was NOTHING going on when last I left Fort Myers. Now we have an official Red Sox Spring Training in full motion.

I land in Fort Myers after 11 tonight. Back in to blog and story mode tomorrow.

Later,

Ian.

Lester, Youk, Lugo and other topics

This is obviously terrific news for the Red Sox that Jon Lester is seemingly on the verge of signing a five-year deal, $30 million that includes a $14 million option for 2013. So now the Red Sox, going into the next four to five years, know that they can depend on a sturdy nucleus of Pedroia, Youkilis, Lester and Ellsbury.

It is so hard to find a big, strong lefty like Lester that you can anchor a staff around, so you knew the Red Sox would pounce at the first opportunity to get him secured for the forseeable future.

Of course, the Jonathan Papelbon situation is still year to year, and you wonder if the sides will ever meet up there. Papelbon has made it clear that he wants to get his maximum worth, and the Red Sox might eventually deem that they can get someone like Daniel Bard to do the job at far less money.

Speaking of Bard, I don’t ever remember a prospect who was all but a lock not to make the team having a camp like this. He is just overpowering hitters.

The Red Sox are representing themselves well at the World Baseball Classic. A day after Dice-K got the win for Japan, Youkilis just obliterated a towering home run, his second longball in his many days. Dustin Pedroia might have broken out of his swing, golfing a pitch down the left field line for a double in Team USA’s big top of the sixth inning.

Meanwhile, in Fort Myers, the shortstop situation continues to be intriguing becuase Julio Lugo and Jed Lowrie are both playing well.

“They both look good,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona.
“If that ends up being a dilemma, I’d rather have that happen than guys not
playing well.”

 

Lugo remains confident that he can be the player he was before coming to the Red Sox. 

“Things are going to take care of themselves as long as I’m healthy,” Lugo said.

And fans will be happy to know that the shortstop is working very hard on his defense this spring with new infield coach Tim Bogar.

“Very well, i think Bogar is going to be a big help to me,” Lugo said. “He’s letting me be myself and making plays the way I know how to make it and that’s the way it should be. That’s what got you here. Just refine those skills and that’s it.”

Dice-K at Dawn

Who are the truest baseball junkies out there? The correct answer is those of you who will set your alarm clocks so you can watch Daisuke Matsuzaka face Korea at 5 a.m. ET on Saturday. This World Baseball Classic encounter from Tokyo will be televised on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and yes, MLB.TV.

Under tournament rules, Matsuzaka is permitted to throw 70 pitches in his first-round start.

Those of you who need a Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis and Jason Bay fix can check out Team USA vs. Canada at 2 p.m. on Saturday on ESPN. And Big Papi David Ortiz will be representing the Domincan Republic in an 11 a.m. encounter (ESPN 2) against the Netherlands.

Things are much quieter here in Fort Myers, where a home game Spring Training lineup features Josh Reddick, Jeff Bailey, Zach Daeges, Chip Ambres and Ivan Ochoa.

Ace Josh Beckett is nearing the completion of a three-inning outing. Jed Lowrie and Jacoby Ellsbury will make the trip to Port Charlotte tomorrow — “You’ll see those guys on every trip,” quipped Red Sox manager Terry Francona.

With the Marlins in town today, Alex Speier of WEEI.com used the timing element to write a nice blog entry on how close Manny Ramirez came to being a Marlin. Imagine how that could have changed the course of events? Would Manny still have wound up with the Dodgers this year? Would Manny have even approved a trade to the Marlins?

By the way, how utterly perplexing was Manny’s comment at the presser yesterday: “Sometimes you’re better off to have a two-year deal in a place that
you’re going to be happy than have an eight-year deal in a place that
you’re going to, you know, suffer.”

Suffer? Really? Did Manny suffer while winning two World Series? Did he suffer while earning $160 million in Red Sox dollars? Did he suffer while getting the trophy as World Series MVP in 2004? Did he suffer as fans adored him unconditionally for eight years, many of them who would write e-mails to every sportswriter who had the audacity to dare criticize Manny for one of his indiscretions? Did he suffer while teaming with David Ortiz to form one of the most dynamic 3-4 punches of this generation?

Suffer?!? If Manny ever plays at Fenway again, he will probably be greeted with the loudest round of boos in Red Sox history.

I will say one thing though. I did not “suffer” covering Manny during his time in Boston. He is the best pure hitter I’ve ever seen, and was always amusing to observe and, even when he allowed, to interact with.

Classic Exodus

There was a different feel in the clubhouse at City of Palms Park this morning, as David Ortiz, Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia and Jason Bay were spending their final few hours in Fort Myers before going to the camps of their respective countries for the World Baseball Classic. Javy Lopez was also leaving camp, but Puerto Rico will train just down the road in Fort Myers for the next few days.

Meanwhile, Dice-K remains in Japan, where he’s been all spring. He pitched for the second time in a game situation yesterday — or is it tomorrow in Japan ??? — giving up a hit and two walks over three shutout innings against the Yomiuri Giants. It was a relief appearance for the Dice Man.

By the way, Mr. Ortiz has a message for his teammate, but possible competitor during the Classic

“I’m
going to take Dice-K deep for sure,” chuckled Ortiz.

But Dustin Pedroia, whose TEAM USA squad will be playing in the same bracket as Canada in the first round, couldn’t resist telling Jason Bay that his squad won’t be around long.

“Pedroia told me to pack one pair of underwear,” said Bay.


Speaking of Bay, he will play center field for Canada to allow his team to generate some more offense.

After those early-morning chats about the Classic, I trucked over here to Hammond Stadium for a tilt against the Twins. The Red Sox trotted out Pedroia, Ortiz and Youkilis in this one, and have a loaded arsenal of pitchers going today, including Josh Beckett, Tim Wakefield, Jonathan Papelbon, Hideki Okajima and Takashi Saito.

Youkilis (photo below) just smashed a homer to right-center, improving a swing that he felt had been “horse manure” in recent days.

youkgoesddeep.jpeg

Beckett had a nice easy stint, mowing down all six batters he faced. He didn’t get to use his changeup because he was so efficient at being ahead in the count. Oh well, that’s a problem Beckett and the Red Sox will gladly take.

Papelbon was impressive in his first exhibition outing, firing 10 pitches and mowing through the Twins in order.

Sox are in Fort Lauderdale tomorrow. I’m not scheduled to go on that trip, but I will pass along whatever updates I get.

Youk on the offense and Papi

Kevin Youkilis, aside from sporting his new Youk fu facial display, was in a good mood on Sunday as several reporters surrounded his locker.

He is not worked up about the lack of true sluggers beyond David Ortiz.

“I think the
key is if a guy doesn’t hit for a lot of power, the key is, are they giving you
good at-bats? You have a guy like J.D. that can grind out at-bats and take
pitches and he can hit the longball with the best of them. Then you have guys
like Jason Bay, Mike Lowell, all the way down the line, we’re going to grind it
out and have good at-bats. Jed Lowrie is a guy who can give great at-bats. That’s
the key. Just try to have guys who are going to grind it out and we have that. Do
it the the Boston Red Sox way like we’ve done for years, that’s our motto is
grind it out every day.”

And the man they call Youuuuuukkkkkkkk is particularly intrigued by what Ortiz might accomplish with the full health back in his left wrist:

“It’s huge,” Youkilis said. “He
can drive in over 120 runs a year. If he stays healthy and drives in 120, 130,
140 and you have those guys in front of you, Jacoby and Pedey, they’re going to
be on base. There’s a lot of things you can do there.”

And what about silencing the critics?
 

“David is going
to have a good year if he stays healthy. If he has his confidence, it’s lights
out,” Youkilis said. “The bottom
line with David is I would like David to go out there and honestly go out there
on the field and shut some people up. That’s the best thing to do, for people
who have said, you can’t do it, and he’s getting old, I’d like for him to go
deep in the first three at-bats of the season.”

The guy just gets it

How else to explain Dustin Pedroia? Could he have made more money if he had gone year to year and took arbitration for three years and then free agency following the 2012 season? Of course.

But Pedroia didn’t take that into account when he opted to take the six-year, $40.5 million contact that includes an $11 million option for 2015. What he took into account is the fact that he loves Boston, he loves everything that comes with playing in Boston.

Pedroia loves playing under pressure. He loves playing in games that count. He loves losing to manager Terry Francona in cribbage. OK, maybe he wins those battles every now and then. He loves roaming around the clubhouse after a big home run, proclaiming himself as “the strongest 165-pound man in baseball.”

It’s good to know that the little man is set to become a fixture in this town for years going forward. And whenever Jason Varitek leaves the Red Sox or retires, we all know who the next captain is.

Now that Pedroia is in the fold, you wonder if guys like Kevin Youkilis, Jonathan Papelbon and Jon Lester will follow suit with deals that will keep them in a Boston uniform for many years.

Speaking of Pedroia, could this winter get any better for him? A Gold Glove. A Silver Slugger. An MVP. And now, $40.5 million worth of security.

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